Sunday, July 14, 2002


Robert Corr has boldly taken us back through time. To a day when there were no occupational health and safety rules, no minimum wage, no child labour laws, and no legal unions. If not the union, what would stop the evil masters of capital from sending us down the mines when we were only ten? Cwertainly not all those giant Government bureacracies set up to deal exclusively with occupational health and safety, pollution, child labour and wage negotiation. Why, without Robert, life would be lived moment to moment under the jackboot of the boss, as he lights his cigars with medicines our poor little Timmy needs sir, please guv’nor, only a copper coin?

But you can’t keep track of the action without a rule book, so we here at the labor negotiation law firm Dewey, Screwem and Howe (strikebreaking, sweatshop enforcement and Welsh mining village design a specialty), along with our friends as Gouge, Grabbit and Runne (financiers to the Czar of All the Russias), have put together this handy bible. Never let it be said that we didn’t do anything for you. Now get down pit, and think yourself bloody grateful for job!

As a unionist, repeat after me
1. I have a greater right to my job, than you do to yours.
2. I have the right to join a union, as do you. You do not have the right to refuse to join the union.
3. You do not have the right to choose the union that will represent you, nor are you allowed to start a new union
4. I may choose to withdraw my labour, but you may not choose to supply yours, regardless of your membership of the union.
5. I am entitled to enforce my rights illegally, through violence, intimidation, threats, blockades and coercion. You are not.
6. It is legitimate for me to demand ongoing public subsidy for my job, regardless of whether it needed. Capital changes that threaten my employment will be resisted through legal and illegal means.
7. My union may charge non-members a fee for achieving higher wage outcomes that flow through to them. Anyone who individually negotiate a higher wage will be expelled if a union member, ostracised if not. Should these increases flow to union members, the original negotiators will not be compensated.

For the Union officials:
1. Secret ballots before strike actions are an affront to democracy
2. I will continue to get paid, regardless if the length, severity or outcome of your struggle
3. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a victory
4. It is better to send a business broke, and fire all the employees, than weaken the closed shop

Some informal rules:
1. The boss is a bastard, and anything that happens to him is justified. He or she has no family, no mortgage, no hopes or dreams. He is the class enemy, and as such is fair game.
2. Just because you make over $100,000 per year, doesn’t mean you’re not a “worker”.
3. All evidence to the contrary, the Tories are the only party that calls in the troops to break a strike

Here are some of my faves from Robert “the red flag still waves” Corr:
Remember, scabs are generally bussed in or protected by police.

Which has nothing to do with the mob of screaming, spitting unionists rocking the bus, does it? If the non-strikers wanted to exercise their legal rights to go to work, I’m sure those nice picketers would just wave them through. No need for the police here, officer, we’re just fighting for
the very existence of civil society

Then there’s this
If some out-of-touch organiser calls a strike and 80% of the workers don't join in, then they're not scabbing, they're demonstrating a lack of faith in the cause of the strike.

At what point does the balance tip over Robert? 60% against? What if it’s even? How about when 90% of the workforce votes NOT to join the union? Does the 10% on strike get to impose their “legitimate tool of struggle and protest” on the recalcitrant 90?

Here’s a giveaway
scabs have typically been coerced into scabbing by artificially high wages

So we see the aim of the strike is not better pay for all, it is higher wages for members only. If you are foolish enough to believe the fragile evidence of your payslip, and disregard the solid promises of the boys from union head office, then you deserve what you get.

If trade unions were as relevant to today’s society as they were 100 years ago, they would represent more than the tiny slice they do today. They wouldn’t need the closed shop to maintain the hold they do enjoy. They wouldn’t need violence and intimidation to enforce the strike rule. Union violence is simply enforcement of the rule of the stronger over the weaker

Corr’s excuses for his model for unionism are as outdated as his rhetoric

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